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Ex-Philippine leader pleads not guilty to plunder

Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is currently under hospital arrest, prepares to be wheeled into the courtroom of theAnti-graft Court on Monday. Arroyo is charged with plunder for allegedly misusing state lottery funds
Bullit Marquez/AP
Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is currently under hospital arrest, prepares to be wheeled into the courtroom of theAnti-graft Court on Monday. Arroyo is charged with plunder for allegedly misusing state lottery funds.

MANILA — A Philippine court entered a not-guilty plea Monday for former president Gloria ­Macapagal Arroyo on charges she misused $8.8 million in state lottery funds, in the third corruption case against her.

Arroyo is suffering from a neck ailment, and police brought her to court from a military hospital. She was admitted to the hospital days before the court served the arrest warrant against her on plunder charges early this month and ordered her confined under guard.

Arroyo, 65, appeared in a wheelchair and wore a neck brace with a pink scarf. She ­refused to enter a plea, prompting the judge to record not guilty on her behalf.

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Nine other people, mostly former officials of the state lottery agency, are also charged in the case. They are accused of conspiring with ­Arroyo during her last years in office to ­divert public funds for her personal gain. If found guilty, they could face a maximum sentence of life ­imprisonment.

Arroyo’s lawyers say the witnesses against her had no personal knowledge of the transactions of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. They have appealed, seeking to have the case dismissed.